Monday, April 25, 2011

Pheaturing JJ Brine From CodeCracker

Hello, and welcome to the Phile on a Monday. It seems just like two days ago I posted an entry. Because of my new job my days off keep changing. Have you been following this whole Donald Trump thing? Trump accused George Stephanopoulos of being co-opted by Obama’s minions. Anyone who knows Stephanopoulos knows he’s minion-proof — and lactose intolerant. Donald Trump is apparently on top among Republican voters. People are responding to his straight-forward honesty, tough talk, and utter lunacy. If Trump does become president, I hope he puts a wig on his plane and calls it Hair Force One. Speaker of the House John Boehner says he will not host a Cinco de Mayo celebration this year. Boehner says he has nothing against Hispanic Americans, and in fact his speaker of the housekeeper is Hispanic. Apparently there’s something about those poor, defenseless piƱatas being beaten with sticks that makes Boehner cry. The cast of “Jersey Shore” must behave themselves while filming in Italy. So instead of getting blackout drunk and going home to make a sandwich, they’ll be getting blackout drunk and going home to make a Panini. I hope you kids had a good Easter, because that might've been the last time the Easter Bunny could deliver eggs. Take a look at what happened.

Did anyone watch "Survivor" last Thursday? I was so happy when they advertised the Phile. Look. I took a picture of the TV screen.

This is the 15th book in the Peverett Phile Book Club...

The author, Christian Cawley, will be a guest on the Phile soon. You can purchase the book from

Today's guest is singer from New York who records under the name CodeCracker, whose is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... JJ Brine.

Me: Hello, JJ, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you?

JJ: Great. Glad to be here!

Me: Okay, do I call you JJ or CodeCracker? What code are you trying to crack?

JJ: You can call me JJ. I can't really say what kind of code I'm cracking. That would be doing all of the work for you!

Me: In the past on the Phile I have interviewed quite people who are single artists but go by band names. I could never figure out why artists do that, and not go by their real names. And I never get an answer that makes sense to me, JJ. Please explain why you released an and perform under a band name.

JJ: Because I knew that CodeCracker would expand and develop over time, I wanted the name to reflect something broader than my own. My sister Chloe is joining me for the next album, "ESM". So now CodeCracker is a duo. When it comes to CodeCracker, nothing is certain except that I'll be involved.

Me: You do have a band when you do live shows I am guessing, right? Is it the same band that plays on the album?

JJ: The first album was produced by me and an extremely talented artist by the name of Peter Litvin. He does participate in the live shows occasionally but not always.

Me: I am such a dumbass... when I saw the album cover I thought there was a bunch of different guys, that realized it was all you. Was that your idea to trick people? I am guessing I am the only one not to figure it out.

JJ: It has certainly never occurred to me to trick anyone! But actually, those are four different guys on the cover. Look closely and you'll see what I mean.

Me: Your album has some joyful tunes on it, with upbeat music, until you listen to the words. You made a really dark album, JJ. With songs like "We're All Going to Hell", "I'm Ending the Universe" and my personal favorite "I'll Dig You Up And Fuck You". What were you thinking of when you wrote that song?

JJ: People think it's a pretty straightforward song. I certainly wouldn't spend a lot of time analyzing it.

Me: Your album is very political with a few religious undertones. Are you a political and religious person?

JJ: I'm a fanatic on both counts. But I'll let the music convey that rather than delving into personal views, which may change at any given moment. And I certainly can't speak for Chloe and right now she doesn't do interviews.

Me: Where are you from, JJ? Listening to your album I was thinking you were from Europe, but you are America, right?

I'm not sure that it matters so much. Wherever I am from, I don't live there now and I certainly don't identify with it.

Me: You lived for a while in the Middle East, which to me is crazy. What made you go and live over there? Did you go by yourself?

JJ: I went over there by myself, yes. I just had to go because I fell in love with it from afar. I had to consummate the romance.

Me: And tell the readers this story: you were kidnapped in Beirut? What the fuck happened?

JJ: I visited a mosque in the southern suburbs of Beirut with a Muslim friend. He took a photo of me and that raised suspicions because of the sensitive security situation between Lebanon and Israel. All of our belongings were confiscated, our heads were covered with bags, and we were transported to a building in an undisclosed location. We were escorted up a staircase and propped up against a wall. I heard a gun being loaded and then I gave them the reaction I presume they were looking for. They took us inside and seated us in a small room. They removed our hoods but there wasn't much to see. The room had little more than white walls and a one-way mirror; they could see us but we couldn't see them. They asked us tons of questions and lit my cigarettes through a small cubby-hole when I wanted to smoke. They gave us mango juice, which was pleasant. At the end they determined that we weren't conducting a reconnaissance mission so they covered our faces again, drove us around in circles to disorient us, and dropped us off at a gas station. Quite a day.

Me: Would you ever go back over there?

JJ: I would and I will.

Me: JJ, what is next? You have a second album coming out called "ESM" that you said. What does ESM stand for?

JJ: It stands for Electronic Spirit Music. It'll be available this month. It's quite different from the first album. We're very pleased with it.

Me: JJ, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Would you come back again, my friend? I feel you have a lot of stories to tell and you seem very intelligent. Why don't you go and plug your website, man?

JJ: Thanks for having me. I would be glad to come back for another interview! You can find our website at and tracks from our new album on my myspace profile:

All the best, and take care.

JJ: You too!

That does look all like him, doesn't it? I am so confused. Anyway, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to JJ for doing and special thanks to Wesley-Anne Bock-Nelson from Ariel Publicity for hooking it up. The Phile will be back next Sunday with two very talented brothers Sam and Luke. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pheaturing Sheila Swift

Hello, welcome to the Phile, how are you? Were you good yesterday on Good Friday? When I was growing up my mom... or mum as we called her, used to tell us that Good Friday was the day you had to be especially good otherwise the Easter Bunny wouldn't bring any toys and candy. You can imagine how good we were on Good Friday. The Department of Justice shut down the biggest online poker sites for violating the law. None of the poker players saw it coming because they were all wearing those stupid little sunglasses. The poker sites broke the same law that prevents the banks from transferring money to offshore accounts. Now if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that Uncle Sam isn’t going to let banks screw people over. President Obama’s critics are lashing out over him shutting down the poker sites. Sarah Palin called it an overreaction, Tim Pawlenty said it was irrational, and Donald Trump said, “Be sure to watch ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’” Elton John announced that he will be doing three years of shows at Caesars Palace. If you don’t know it, it’s a gaudy old landmark that’s past its best — and Caesars Palace is a casino. So, the 2011 Pulitzer prizes were given out for excellence in journalism and as usual, I didn’t win a thing. Most of you don’t think of me as a journalist — because I’m not. I don’t get my news from the paper anymore, I just get it from my iPhone. The news is always the same: no service. The people of Denmark are the happiest in the world. That confuses me because the only Dane I know is Hamlet and his whole monologue was about if he should kill himself. The Danes are great because they gave us Great Danes. Denmark is the happiest nation, and Sweden and Finland are No. 2 and No. 3. I call these countries the “axis of perky.” Charlie Sheen was an hour late for his show in Washington, D.C. and he tweeted a picture of his police escort. Aren’t the police supposed to take Charlie Sheen from places? Queen Elizabeth celebrated her birthday. Congratulations, your royalness. More than 100 tornadoes struck the South. Mississippi and Tennessee were actually blown into one big state. I think these storms are God’s way of sending us a message. I think that message is that when warm humid air masses surge northward from the Gulf of Mexico and combine with a strong jet stream, it can result in severe weather conditions. If you see a tornado coming toward you, please make sure you have your camera ready. President Obama is in Los Angeles raising money for his campaign and meeting with Dr. 90210 about an ear tuck. So, tomorrow is Easter, right? Wrong! Easter is cancelled, and here on the Phile I have proof. Look...

So, have you ever seen that guy Bear Grylls on TV? I watched his show the other day, and he is nuts. I was surprised to see he has an inspirational poster out though. Check it out.

Speaking of TV, do you know what comes back on tonight? I will show you.

Now, I wanna talk about one of my favorite subjects: me. For almost 23 years I have worked at Epcot, and then I left and worked at the Magic Kingdom for three weeks, and went back to Epcot. Now, after four months I left Epcot again and now I am working at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I cannot tell you where, but I will say the Force is with me.

I am such an idiot! I was supposed to reveal what the 15th book in the Peverett Phile Book Club last Saturday but I totally forgot, so here it is.
"Ultimate Regeneration" is the first book from and the first to be released in the UK by writer and Editor of the site Christian Cawley. The book tells the real-time critical story of "Doctor Who" between the years 2005 and 2010. Featuring essays, articles, reviews and interviews, the full story is put into context with a running commentary on the main events in Doctor Who news and fandom. It includes 60 "Doctor Who" reviews from "Rose" to "The End of Time", "Part Two", and over 30 articles including character, actor and writer profiles.
"Ultimate Regeneration" costs of £14.99, and is available at the already mentioned website. The author Christian Cawley will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is a very talented and attractive singer from Houston, Texas whose new album "Shape of Things" is available on iTunes. She'll be playing at Ferrari Estate at Preston, England on May 28th. Please welcome to the Phile... Sheila Swift.

Me: Sheila, welcome to the Phile, at last! I have to apologize, when I invited Staci Butler and Linda Lambert to the Phile, I thought I invited you, and then I never heard from you, so I was confused, and so were you. And now here we are. How are you?

Sheila: I'm super! Thanks!

Me: So, I had Tish on the Phile a few times, and Linda, and you girls all know each other, right? Are you part of the GoGirls thing as well?

Sheila: I am. I know Tish and Linda really well.

Me: I have to ask, and I know the answer, but I think it's cool. What was your first song you learnt on guitar?

Sheila: Ha! Well, it may not have been the very first, but "Slow Ride" was among the first few I learned with my dad teaching me : )

Me: I don't play it, but people have told me it is easy to learn, is that true? Have you played "Slow Ride" on Guitar Hero?

Sheila: It's pretty easy to pick up. I haven't played it on Guitar Hero, that would probably be harder for me! : )

Me: Sheila, congrats on the twins. How are they, and how old are they now?

Sheila: Thanks! They are 2 and a half now. Two girls: Marley and Dylan. We call them the "Bob"sie twins. : )

Me: And what's it with all you girls who have your husbands in the band with you? Was your husband in your band first, or was he your husband first?

Sheila: Dude! It's free labor! : ) Michael and I were dating before he started playing for me. When we got married he became a lifetime member of the band : )

Me: I downloaded your album "Shape of Things" from iTunes and really, really like it. It's one of my favorite album I downloaded this year so far. It came out a few years ago, right? Are you working on another?

Sheila: Thanks! I released "Shape of Things" in 2007. Since then we've been really lucky that the record has had so much life in it! I am currently working on new songs for my next record which we look to release later this year! It is somewhat of a departure from "Shape of Things" stylistically- with more of a 70's vibe. I am really excited about the new songs and can't WAIT to have folks hear them!!!

Me: Why don't you tell the readers who is on the album with you, who is in your band?

Sheila: I recorded "Shape of Things" in Indiana at Cider Mountain Recorders- an AWESOME studio, awesome owners! And on that record you hear Jeff Marino on drums (he also plays for Darius Rucker) and Joeie Canaday on bass (Lee Ann Rimes' bass player). My band is a super group of guys: Michael Hurst (my husband) on guitar, Matthew "Preach" Batiste on drums, Kin-Folk on bass, and our newest member John Rigdon on lead guitar! I also play guitar on a few songs and of course sing and write : )

Me: What's with the album cover though? It's your body, but no face. Who made that decision? They should be fired. LOL.

Sheila: Oh no! HA! My mistake! I made that call- my face is on the back... but I guess if you download it, you don't get that huh? Sorry! I'll make sure to put my mug on the next one- just for you! : )

Me: Did you write all the songs?

Sheila: Yes sir! I wouldn't have it any other way! : ) Although as it is now, the band has really stepped up and is contributing to the music more than ever. I am still writing lyrics and melody, but I have help now with the music so our sound is opening up so more!

Me: You did a video for the opening track "Feel Like I Do", which looked like it was a lot of fun. Is that the only video you made?

Sheila: It is the only video I've made and it was a lot of fun. But to be honest, I'd love to do it over becuase that was made right after the twins were born and I have lost 50 pounds since then!!! I look like a different person! : )

Me: Was that done in 2007 as well?

Sheila: No, the video was in 2009, a few months after the twins were born.

Me: Sheila, I saw you were also a painter? Is that your first love or is music? What kind of stuff do you paint?

Sheila: Music will always be my first love. Painting came later- during university. I paint non-representational pieces, mostly oil on canvas. I also really enjoy photography and graphic design.

Me: Do you draw as well?

Sheila: Not at all! I can draw a mean stick figure and that's about it. I am a great doodler though : )

Me: I have to ask you about this, Sheila, when you were 12 you were diagnosed with a brain tumor. Do you remember much about that?

Sheila: Yes, I remember a lot because it has shaped who I am today in so many ways- especailly emotionally and spiritually. I talk about it more in depth on my website if you'd like to know more: (under bio).

Me: How long did you suffer?

Sheila: Honestly, Jason, I have never felt as though I "suffered". I view my experience as a blessing because God has protected me from a lot and revealed to me my purpose early in life. I feel lucky to go out there and sing and encourage others in whatever situation they may be facing!

Me: How do you feel now? How was it diagnosed? Did you get a lot of headaches as a kid? I get migraines once in awhile and years ago they checked to see if I had a tumor.

Sheila: I can honestly say I am GREAT right now! I do get migraines and they are NO fun; but like anything else, you deal with it and you move on. The tumor was diagnosed in 1997 because I had passed out, hit my head, and my mom took me to the ER. They did a cat scan and discovered the mass. For several years I was watched and had constant MRI's to see if there was any growth, which awesomely enough there never was. More than likely, the tumor stopped growing at puberty (RIGHT when they found it!). There is a tangle of blood vessels around the tumor (an AVM) they also looks like it cut off the tumor's blood supply so it was unable to grow! The doctors actually think that that tangle is a healed anerism that I was probably born with! All in all I feel like I am a walking miracle!

Me: You must really worry about your little girls.

Sheila: Of course, but I have to place them in God's hands and trust that He has their little lives covered just like He was covered me with so much grace and healing! : )

Me: Okay, enough of this depressing shit. So, you toured England and going back? How long ago was that?

Sheila: Whew... I thought you'd never move on... Just kidding! YES! England! LOVED it! Michael and I went to the UK in 2007 and toured around England and Wales for 2 weeks and had the BEST time! We're going back this May!!!

Me: How did the Brits receive you?

Sheila: Oh my gosh! I LOVE the Brits, and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual! It was so funny because since we are Texans they loved to tease us about our accents and saying "Y'all". One guy in a pub in Wales came up to us and asked us if we knew who shot JR (from the old TV show "Dallas"). Michael causually looked at him and said "I did". It was great! : )

Me: Where did you play and did you get to sightsee any?

Sheila: We played all over, but the best place, hands down, was at The Vault at the Hard Rock Cafe (the original in Knightsbridge). We did get a chance to sightsee! We stopped at a bunch of old castles in Wales, we went to Stonehenge, and of course we did the Tower of London. I'll never forget that because I stomped around shoeless at the Tower because some Finnish guy behind me in line stepped on my flip flop and broke it, so I went to the guards office and they wrapped my foot in packing tape so I didn't have to be totally barefoot! HA! The guards name was Terry and he said the makeshift shoe was compliments of the Queen. : )

Me: I was born in London and lived in Oxford for a few years in the 80's... 30 minutes from Stonehenge and I did not see it. I am an idiot.

Sheila: BUMMER! You HAVE to go! It was BEYOND amazing!!!

Me: Do you do a lot of travelling and touring? I can't imagine with two little girls.

Sheila: We rounded out 2010 with 89 shows- so I do get out as much as I can!

Me: Ever been down to Disney World? You gotta come down to visit sometime, play the House of Blues here.

Sheila: I have! I can't wait to take the girls when they are a bit older! And I would love to play HOB... will you hook me up? : )

Me: Sheila, I hope this was a fun interview, and I really thank you for being here. Come back when your next project comes out. Maybe I can have all you GoGirls in one big interview. Why don't you plug your websites, Facebook, Twitter and anything else you wanna?

Sheila: Thanks Jason! You rock! Yeah, keep up with me on,, And of course my webpage: : )

Me: Are their any charities you wanna plug as well?

Sheila: Yes!!!! The Layla Grace Foundation is very dear to my heart. The Marsh family lost little Layla in March, 2010, and since then have founded a charity which funds research in childhood cancer and also exists to empower parents dealing with their child's illness. Donations help us to discover new treatment options for children with high-risk cancer.

Me: Take care, keep in touch, and get back in that studio.

Sheila: Thanks!

That about does it for another entry. The Phile will be back in two days on Monday, where the guest will be singer JJ Brine from the band CodeCracker. Thanks to Sheila for a great interview and to you for reading this blog. Have a good Easter. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pheaturing Maureen Davis From The Flutterbies

Hello, phriends, welcome to a special Saturday entry of the Phile. How are you? Thanks for stopping by. Today is Record Day, so go out and support your local indie record store. This whole Donald Trump thing running for president is getting crazy. The White House says that Donald Trump has “zero percent chance” of being elected president. Isn’t that a little high? Insiders say that Trump is running for president as a publicity stunt. That’s not the Donald Trump I know. Donald Trump has a great campaign slogan: “A complex world demands complex hair.” Donald Trump says he has never been more serious about running for president and that this is not a publicity stunt... but make sure to watch the announcement on the season finale of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Hosni Mubarak was arrested near the Red Sea a few days ago. They found him in hiding with his two sons, Hosni W. and Jeb. They were interrogating Mubarak and he had a heart attack. There’s nothing more stressful than being an out-of-work dictator. It’s a bad day for soap operas. ABC has canceled “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” The announcement was made by the president of ABC daytime — or was it his evil twin? A high-ranking official at the FAA had to resign because air traffic controllers are falling asleep. I think FAA stands for “fell asleep again.” Lady Gaga claims that she does not believe in plastic surgery. I agree with her, except in my case, where I had to have a tail removed. The Navy tested a high power laser beam to help fight pirates. There’s nothing the pirates can do to defend themselves against this laser — unless they buy a mirror. I said already that today is Record Day, right. For more information go to to check it out. Also, today would of been my dad's birthday. He had one of the biggest record collections ever, and could have easily opened his own store. Anyway, I mentioned my dad a lot over the years, and thought for his birthday I would show a picture. Here he is...

Hey, did you see the new Mac ad? I didn't know they had a Mac version of Guitar Hero until now. Take a look.

And now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this weeks...

Top Ten Signs Donald Trump Is Serious About Running for President
10. He unveiled his new campaign slogan: "I'm Hired!"
9. He promised his hair it could be the next White House dog.
8. He's recently learned where Iowa is.
7. He's looking to buy an American wife.
6. Campaign literature included with his latest eviction notices.
5. Said his running mate will be $600 million in cash.
4. The stars of the next "Celebrity Apprentice" are Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger.
3. Already ordered "TRUMP" sign for Washington Monument.
2. What could prove he's more serious than being roasted on Comedy Central by The Situation and Snoop Dogg?
And the number one sign Trump is serious about running for president...
1. He's suddenly become less publicity-shy.

Today's guest is the lead singer for The Flutterbies, Los Angeles' hottest alt-country upstarts. You can download the EP "The Flutterbies featuring Maureen Davis" and the new single "First Rain of October" now on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely and wonderful... Maureen Davis.

Me: Hi there, Maureen, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you?

Maureen: Lovely, thank you.

Me: I have to ask you first about the band name The Flutterbies. Did you come up with it?

Maureen: Yup..

Me: What is a Flutterby?

Maureen: Well, it's a spoonerism of "butterfly" and yes, you did spell it right :) It took us weeks to decide whether the band should spell it "Flutterbies" or "Flutterbyes"... but we opted for good grammar. Still confuses people. I chose the name because I'm kind of a fan of all winged things and well, the guys are all in several bands and I play with whoever 'flutters' by. Adam and I are the core of the band, and usually our bass player Steven Whalen.

Me: You're the lead singer, Maureen, but who are the other folks in the band with you?

Maureen: Adam Daniel, co-writer/guitarist/singer; Steven Whalen, bass; Christopher Allis, drums; Bart Ryan, guests on lap steel & electric or Marty Rifkin on pedal steel; Chris Joyner or Jamieson Trotter on keys; Molly Pasutti guest vocals on the CD. We've even had our pal Lee Curreri (Bruno from "Fame") on keys.

Me: You guys are based in Los Angeles, right?

Maureen: Yup.

Me: Are you originally from there?

Maureen: Nope. Born in Detroit, raised in Sylvania, Ohio; moved to NYC to act on Broadway; been in L.A. since 1991.

Me: I downloaded all your music from iTunes and really like it. Your latest is a single called "First Rain of October"... is that a preview of a new album you are working on?

Maureen: Yeah, we love that song :) We released it this week, part of a 'single of the month' campaign.

Me: I just watched your video for "How I Get Over You" and thought it was very cool. Where was it filmed and how long did it take?

Maureen: Well, it took 3 months to write, 4 days to film, 4 different locations, 2 months to edit. We filmed it primarily at friend's houses and at the Good Nite Bar in North Hollywood. Tiny dive with a pole to dance on. They have since taken the pole down. Awwww...

Me: There's a famous actress in it, Maureen. Tell the readers who it is. Did you know her before the video shoot?

Maureen: she was Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers and a teacher on "iCarly". I was a fan of hers from Second City improv on TV and when I was teaching at School of Rock she brought her son in to take voice lessons from me. We became gal pals and when she said she never had been in a music video I said, "you are now!" She did the whole thing for the price of dinner. I love Mindy.

Me: One of your songs "Hummingbird Heart" was used in a campaign to reverse California's Proposition 8. When I was in California a few years ago, a Prop 8 demo was going on in Hollywood. Explain what Prop 8 was, and how did your song get involved?

Maureen: Prop 8 was overturned, luckily. It banned same-sex marriage. My friend, John Ireland started and I wanted to help out somehow. So he used our song. We also led our fans to the site to educate them. Love is love, I say.

Me: Before you were a singer in a very cool band, you were an actress in "Into the Woods" on Broadway with Bernadette Peters, is that right? Is acting one of your first loves?

Maureen: Oh my, yes. My idols growing up were Bernadette Peters, Bonnie Raitt (not an actress but damn cool, no?) and Karen Black ("Terror Trilogy"). And momma sang big band with orchestra's as well as musical comedies, so acting was in my blood. I've been acting since age 8.

Me: Would another Broadway show be something you would do in the future? By the way, friends of mine at Disney just put on a "Into the Woods" play. Who did you play in the show?

Maureen: Hey, did you know I sang in the "Chance to Shine" mini musical at California Disney Adventure? Long before The Flutterbies... but what fun, being Nellie the Cowgirl! Broadway shows rock. I'd love to do another show. I played Sleeping Beauty, as well as Bernadette's 'secret' witch double (stunt woman). We were trained by magicians to perform a magical transformation and I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement until the show closed. I also understudied/played Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.

Me: Maureen, I want to congratulate you on something. You are the second guest ever on the Phile to have played at Carnegie Hall. The first guest I interviewed a few weeks ago that played there was Danny Nova. Are you aware of his work?

Maureen: Don't know Danny Nova. Enlighten me!

Me: He is a singer, songwriter whose been around for a long time. Anyway, he described the experience so well about playing there. What was the experience like for you?

Maureen: Glamourous. Three girls in Mackie evening gowns singing swing music. It doesn't get better than that. And Gary Burton, the renowned vibe player... Side note: My dad and mom had not spoken in 10 years, Carengie Hall brought them together again, with their new mates. Finally, my great Aunt Sandi who was like my Auntie Mame mentor, saw all her work in grace and discipline in the spotlight in a historical place. I truly felt like I had arrived in the music business. Amazing. :)

Me: Did you play there with The Flutterbies or another band?

Maureen: I was in a girl trio selected from hundreds called The Pearl. We released 2 singles in Japan. I was blonde.

Me: Is there another venue that would be a dream of yours to play at?

Maureen: The Greek. The Hollywood Bowl. Joe' Pub in New York. The Ark in Ann Arbor (I played there with Michelle Shocked... opened for her!) and someone's gotta get The Stronghold in Venice a license again... that place was magical.

Me: You are a teacher as well as a musician? You taught at Santa Monica's School of Rock, right? How did you get that gig?

Maureen: Believe it or not... online. I auditioned with Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky" with 3 picking styles in one song as well as Mose Allison's "Cryin' Mercy". Taught voice, music theory, songwriting, even led kids in bands. Loved that job. Now I teach privately.

Me: Explain exactly what you teach now. Maureen. Do you get lots of students?

Maureen: I use a blend of pilates, yoga mudras, and my own technique. But it centers around each student singing with his/her own voice. Know your strengths. Don't imitate someone else's voice. Stay true to the story o the song. Use your whole body to support the sound. I do get lots of student's word of mouth, and now I coach bands in-studio too!

Me: So, what's next for you? Any new music or projects you are working on?

Maureen: Singing sonnets in Central Oark for Shakespeare's birthday April 22nd; playing Cooldog in Delaware April 23rd: more dates to be announced in NYC. A Bety-Page type of coffee table book called "Even Bad Girls Drink Tea" and hopefully tea sponsorship. Cover tunes Flutterbies style for TV/film. A super-secret indie film with a major star that comes out next winter. And "First Rain of October" on all Lufthansa worldwide flights May/June. We're big in Belgium (wink).

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, Maureen. I wish you continued success and I hope you keep making music for a long time. Any chance you'll be doing some Florida shows?

Maureen: Bring us out there! We love doing home concerts as well as clubs. And my big brother lives in Miami Beach.

Me: Go ahead and plug your website and thanks again. I hope this was fun. Was it? Please come back again soon, okay?

Maureen: And we're raising funds for our mini tour April 22nd-24th. Fans can get autographed pics, song lyrics, downloads, EP's and other collectibles for $25, $50 AND $100. We also accept frequent flyer miles (wink). Thanks so much for the chat.

There you go, another entry, the second this week. Thanks to Maureen Davie for a great interview. The Phile will be back next week with a hot singer with the last name Swift. No, not Taylor, but Sheila. Sheila Swift. So, spread the word, not the turd, don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pheaturing Staci Butler From Staci's Edge

Hello, my phriends, and welcome to a Phriday entry of the Phile. I have a really good entry for you today. Phirst of, the gas prices are rising, the Presidential races are heating up, and there’s trouble in the Middle East, but none of that concerns me because it was Library Week. This is the week that we celebrate America’s libraries by returning overdue books. I never understood people that keep books longer than they should. The purpose of borrowing something is that you return it. Unless you’re Lindsay Lohan and it’s a necklace. And yes, I did get a book out from the library. I read Carl Hiaasen's "Skinny Dip". Actually, truth be told, I didn't get the book version, I got the book on CD version to listen to in my car on my way to work. But, I did get it from the library. So, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a budget deal and a short-term funding extension to keep this country not moving forward. The contract disputes that were holding up the fourth season of “Jersey Shore” have been resolved. They will now receive $100,000 per episode, which should cover their gym, tan, laundry, and plaster lawn sculptures for life. Donald Trump insists that he is going to run for president. I guess he figures if he can pull off that hairstyle, he can do anything. Trump says he’s President Obama’s worst nightmare. Is that scarier than Oprah hiding in the Lincoln Bedroom? Jennifer Lopez, or as I like to call her J-Lo, was chosen as the world’s most beautiful woman by People magazine. But anybody looks good when they’re sitting next to Steven Tyler. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination. He has a slogan to win over the Republicans: “Vote for me, I’m not Trump.” Canada may postpone an important political debate because it may conflict with a hockey game. An entire nation is willing to put democracy on hold to watch burly guys smash each other in the face. That is awesome. There used to be so much fighting in hockey that each game was like an episode of “The View.”
President Obama laid out his plan to reduce the $14 trillion national debt. Unfortunately for Sasha and Malia, it involves selling a lot of girl scout cookies. If you stacked 14 trillion dollar bills on top of each other, the stack would almost definitely fall over and kill everyone in the United States. Oprah says that the president and first lady will appear on her April 2 show. At the end, she’ll be giving them away. Sports fans, Barry Bonds was charged with obstruction of justice, as well as obstructing anyone that sat behind him in a movie theater. Anyway, it's Friday, right? Have you seen that popular Rebecca Black video on Youtube? It's really popular and the song "Friday" is really catchy. If you haven't seen it, check out these actual screen shots from it.

Man, that's an awful wreck. Have you seen the new tags they are starting to put on clothes? I noticed this on one of my t-shirts the other day.

Okay, now for something serious... I mentioned Obama's plan to reduce the 14 million dollars in the national debt, right? Well, I don't really understand it, so I thought I would ask someone who could explain it to me. So, once again, it's time to...

So, I asked Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee to explain things.

Me: Chairman Reince, President Obama proposed trillions in new taxes to bankroll the liberal Democrats' big government policies, right? Can you explain what it means?

Reince: The tax hikes President Obama wants will only fuel Washington's addiction to spending rather than help curb it. More importantly, they will hurt one of the strongest engines of growth and job creation in our economy: small businesses. And they will harm middle class families by taking more money from their pockets at a time when Americans need every dime to cover their expenses.

Me: How much taxes will an average American be spending, Chairman?

Reince: According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will pay more in taxes in 2011 than they will spend on food, clothing and housing combined, and it's still not enough for Barack Obama.

Me: Chairman, Obama said he is going to run for President again. Do you think he has a chance of winning another term?

Reince: Friend, we must make Barack Obama a one-term president to put an end to his devastating higher taxes and reckless spending ways.

Me: Okay, so, if a Republican wins, what are their goals? What have they done?

Reince: Republicans have already cut tens of billions in 2011 spending... the largest one-year budget cut in American history.

There you have it, kids. I don't think Reince answered my questions the way I wanted, and I said it before, I don't think he likes the President. I need to try and get a member of the Democratic party on the Phile. Anyway, thanks to Reince for taking part and not really explaining anything.

Sidney Lumet
June 25, 1924 - April 9, 2011
He's dead as hell and he's not going to take this anymore!

Staci's Edge has got it going on, Staci's Edge has got it going on. I am sorry, every time I think of the band today's guest is in, a certain Fountains of Wayne song sticks in my head. Anyway, today's guest is the lead singer in the Texas based rock band Staci's Edge. Their new album "I've Got It All" is now available on iTunes, and they'll be playing next in Cypress, Texas for the Spaulding for Children Charity event, Aces for Adoption Opening Reception. Please welcome to the Phile... Staci Butler, who has it going on.

Me: Hello, Staci, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you?

Staci: Hi, Jason!! I am doing great! Thanks for having me on the Phile!

Me: Tish Meeks from 3 Kisses hooked you up for this interview. How long have you two been friends?

Staci: Tish and I have been friends for about a year. We met through

Me: Have you ever written or played together?

Staci: We have not written or played together BUT I hope to do both in 2011.

Me: Congrats on being voted the best rock band of 2010 with the Houston Press Music Awards. Was there a big ceremony and did you get a cool statue?

Staci: Actually we were nominated for Best Rock Band by the Houston Press Music Awards. We didn't win but I'm pretty sure we came in at a close second... LOL. There was a really cool awards ceremony that we went to where we officially partied like rock stars. But the cool statue went to Lotus Effect who we know and like so it's all good :) The nomination itself was such a big honor. We are so grateful for it.

Me: You have a new album out called "I've Got It All" which I downloaded from iTunes. How long did it take you to record the album, Staci?

Staci: Too long... LOL. We started it in April 2010 and I thought it would take a few months. But of course these things never go as planned. I underestimated how much work and stress recording and producing 11 songs would be all by myself. I have a whole new appreciation for producers!

Me: It's your debut one, right?

Staci: Yes, it is the Staci's Edge debut album.

Me: How long have you been writing and performing, Staci? You're pretty good on that guitar, y'know.

Staci: Thank you! I've been playing guitar, writing and performing for about 15 years. But for the last two years I've really been focusing on honing my skills. I actually stopped playing guitar for about 3 years. Life changes got in the way (got married, had a baby, etc) and I honestly thought I would never play again. But music has a way of haunting me if I don't play so fortunately I picked the Les Paul back up and I've been rocking it ever since.

Me: Speaking of your guitar, every picture I have seen of you you are holding the same Gibson Les Paul. You must be very proud of that guitar. It is a beauty... and very red. Even in black and white pictures it shows up red. LOL. How long have you had it and where did you get it?

Staci: LOL... yes, the red guitar has become my trademark so to speak. I've been playing that guitar for many years. I'm so comfortable playing it that it is hard to pick up another guitar and play. I bought it brand new at Guitar Center many years ago. That guitar has seen the inside of every bar in Houston :) It gets around.

Me: What year is that guitar? You must have back-ups, right?

Staci: It is a 1998 Les Paul Studio. Yes, I also have an Ibanez JS 100 and a Fender Tele Thinline. AND I am looking for a Paul Reed Smith to round out the collection!

Me: I mentioned Tish Meeks who has been on the Phile three times and every time I interview her it seems like she has a new tattoo. Do you have any?

Staci: I only have one tattoo that is in an area that not many people see :-) I've been thinking about getting the RED guitar tattooed on my back. YES, I love that damn guitar.

Me: Let's talk about your band Staci's Edge. Where did that name come from? I know where the word Staci came from, but why Edge?

Staci: When the band formed we decided since I was lead singer AND lead guitar player AND wrote the music, Staci should be in the band name. But we didn't want to call it the Staci Butler Band. So we decided it would be “Staci's [insert word here]”. My rhythm guitarist's wife came up with Edge. I think Edge represents my personality as well as the tone of the music. It's edgey :)

Me: Did you hear the Edge from U2 is going start a new band? It's going to be called Edge's Staci.

Staci: LMAO. Sorry. LOL, you're so funny.

Me: Thanks. How long has the band been together and who is in the band with you?

Staci: The band formed in late 2008. I have three very dedicated, patient guys who play with me regularly. Kirk Gentle on drums, Chris Shaw on guitar and Corey Moss on bass. These guys probably deserve an award for putting up with me :-)

Me: What made you start and name a band instead of going out as Staci Butler? Staci Butler is a cool stage name.

Staci: You think so? I never really thought about being a solo artist type. I've always been a part of a band and I like it that way.

Me: You have a child, right? What do they think of their mom being a rocker? They must get a kick out of it. Or is it just normal to them? My dad was the lead singer of Foghat and growing up I didn't think twice because that's all I knew.

Staci: Yes, I have a 5 year old daughter. She thinks everybody's mom is in a rock band. It's so normal for her because that's what she's seen me do her whole life. She knows all the lyrics to my songs and sings them regularly. But I was disappointed when she told me she didn't want to play guitar. She wants to be the keyboard player. OK, I can live with that.

Me: Is your husband a musician as well? Do you ever run the songs pass him?

Staci: My husband can barely play the radio... LOL. He gets to hear all new songs first and 9 times out of 10 they are about him :-)

Me: What about touring? Are you kids planning on touring the States? You could come down to Disney and play down here.

Staci: I would love to play Disney. Hook a sista up! :-) We are planning on doing regional touring this year to promote the CD. We want to play in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Maybe even take it international and play Louisiana!

Me: You're a fan of Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, right? Have you had the chance to meet them?

Staci: Yes, I am a big fan of both. I've never met either one but I did see Susan at the House of Blues last year. She really was a big inspiration for me.

Me: You must be a fan of the blues, right?

Staci: BIG blues fan. I like Texas blues, Chicago blues, old school blues. I like it all. I really try to put myself into the music emotionally so that people can really feel what I am trying to say. So the blues has been a huge influence on my music and my guitar playing.

Me: Staci, what is next for your band? I wish you continued success, Staci, and when your next album comes out you are welcomed to come back. Why don't you go ahead and plug your website and anything else you want to?

Staci: Thanks, Jason!! You can find Staci's Edge on the web at:,, What's next? I am already writing new material for the next album. :-)

Me: Thanks for being on the Phile and tell Tish I said hello.

Staci: Thank you and I will! :-)

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Reince Priebus for taking time out to dodge a few questions and of course to Staci Butler. The Phile will be back again tomorrow. Yes, just like last week the Phile has two entries. Tomorrow's guest will be Maureen Davis, lead singer for the band The Flutterbies, Los Angeles' hottest alt-country upstarts. Also I will have the announcement of the 15th book in the Peverett Phile Book Club. And then the Phile will be back the following Saturday with Staci's friend, Texas singer Sheila Swift. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pheaturing Alumni Id Guinness

Hello, phriends, welcome to another entry of the Phile, it seems only yesterday I posted an entry. Oh, yeah, it was yesterday. Charlie Sheen is getting such bad reviews for his live show, that scalpers are offering to pay $40 to get rid of tickets. Researchers in Canada have created an injection that works as a long-term solution for cat allergies. I think that’s known as “putting your cat to sleep.” Scientists say the ozone layer over the Arctic has shrunk a record 40 percent. It’s the biggest hole in the sky that’s not on a Southwest plane. The elderly are the fastest-growing segment of Internet users. I know several old people that send email, chat, and Skype with their friends. Some of them even do it when the computer is turned on. There’s a $376 million semi-secret construction project happening at the White House, and it’s rumored that a tunnel is being built underneath. That’s a lot of work for President Obama to get away from his mother-in-law. Let the man have a cigarette. I think Obama is building an underground Kenya so he can Africanize us from below. I heard that on Fox News. They found the missing cobra from the Bronx Zoo. It was right between a filing cabinet and a dead zookeeper. Now there’s a contest to name the cobra. They should have named it before, so that when it got lost, they could have just called it. So, once in awhile I like to make a graph to explain things to you, kids. I haven't done this in awhile, so here's a new one.
A few weeks ago there was a Super Moon, do you kids remember that? I did not realize 'til today there was a moon landing at the same time. Don't believe me? Take a look.

Crazy, eh? In yesterday's entry I mentioned that baseball season just started, and being British I don't know too much about baseball, and never really followed it, even through for years I have said I was a Yankees fan. Anyway, I thought it's about time I learnt all about America's favorite past time... I have lived in America for going on 25 years. So, I thought I would ask a good friend and sports expert. So, once again, it's time to...

Me: Hello, Jeff, welcome to the Phile. Thanks for stopping by to help me again. I am from England and don't know anything about baseball, except that A-Rod is the man. Now it's baseball season, what should I look for and who will do well? What can we expect from the season?

Jeff: The season is starting off in weird fashion. It's always hard to say in the first week, since they play 162 games, plus playoffs. I expect the Red Sox (even though they are struggling bad right now) to win the American League East. The Yankees will be the Wild Card. The White Sox will win AL Central and the Angels to win the AL West. In the National League East it will be the Braves, the Central will be the Cardinals, the Dodgers will win the West and the Giants will win the Wild Card. In the end I expect the Phillies to win the World Series. They could have four of the most dominate starting pitchers if Cole Hamels is healthy.

Me: Also, you're a Red Sox fan, right? Will they play better then the Yankees?

Jeff: I think the Yankees will go out and make moves which will make them a better team then they look on a paper, and on paper (it kills me to admit it) they look good. They will be underestimated due to the age of some of their players. So if they make a big trade, the Yankees might take the East Division.

Me: Thank you, Jeff, I appreciate you explaining it to me.

Today's Alumni guest was last on the Phile January 31st, 2009. Man, that's a long time ago. He has a new album out which is available on iTunes called "Soul Envy". Please welcome back to the Phile... Id Guinness.

Me: Hello, Id, welcome back to the Phile. It's been 2 years since you were here. Time flies, right?

Id: Yes, indeed it does. Way too damn fast.

Me: Last time we talked you were working on your new album "Soul Envy", and now it's out. Are you happy with it?

Id: I’m happy with it. It’s not selling as well as the first one or getting as many reviews, so I guess that means others aren’t necessarily as happy with it as I am, but that’s ok. It’s more complex and pessimistic - not always an easy listen.

Me: How different is it from your last album, "Cure For the Common Crush"?

Id: Well, where "Cure For the Common Crush" had a lot of big, hopeful anthems, this one turned into almost a concept album about loss. The lyrics are darker, although musically it’s probably a lot poppier. I used a lot of Beach Boys harmonies and oohs and aahs to help lighten the weight of the subject matter. Musically, "Soul Envy" starts off where the "Cure" ends. "Wailing Wall" morphs into "Guardians of the New Frontier" for a couple of minutes before the darkness descends.

Me: What's the meaning of the title, "Soul Envy"? I know there's a good story behind it, Id.

Id: Originally, the songs I had in mind for it had more of an early ‘70s R&B vibe. I had been listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Staple Singers, that sort of thing. Somewhere during the process my direction shifted, but the title still seemed to fit.

Me: The album cover for the new album is a lot more basic then the last one. Where was that picture taken?

Id: I found a brilliant photographer from Bangkok who was kind enough to let me use his images. In return, I promote him any way I can. His name is Sureeyapon Sri_ampai (what a great name, hey?) And his website is although I like his profile on better. I don`t know exactly where in Thailand that picture was taken, but I was immediately drawn to it. The strange bird-like trees seem like they are aching to embrace.

Me: I read that your music has been in some films. Is that cool for you? Do you sit and watch those movies, and wait for your song to come on? I would. I do that with Foghat song's that appear in films. And then I have to go buy them.

Id: It is interesting to see how filmmakers use songs, how they’re edited and how they pair the lyrics with scenes and storylines. Mine have been used in everything from Swedish indie horror films to documentaries about taggers to commercials for airshows.

Me: There's a really good video for one of your songs, I noticed. Did you have a large part in creating it? It was put into a film festival, is that right?

Id: I didn’t have a part in the making of it at all - I have no talent in that area whatsoever. The director, Kailey Carruthers, was a film student at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design and the resulting video was a student project of hers that turned out really well. It was screened here in Vancouver with several other short student films - all of which were fantastic. Earlier in 2010 it was shown at the Chicago International Music and Movie Festival. I’m not sure if it has hit any other festivals or not.

Me: You live outside Vancouver, right? Do you live in the same place?

Id: For now, yes, in the strange and magical town of Mission - where Benedictine Monks and Hell's Angels live together in perfect harmony. We have a very eclectic demographic to say the least, a melting pot to end all melting pots, but somehow it works.

Me: By the way, did anybody ever tell you look like Timothy Hutton?

Id: Damn, I do too, don't I? But my hair is way cool compared to his... although in fairness, his teeth are nicer.

Me: On the last album, you covered a David Bowie song. Any new covers on this album? You know, you could always cover a Foghat tune.

Id: You know, when I first discovered that Lonesome Dave was your Dad, I started listening to Foghat songs again to see if I could do any of them justice. I have fond memories of jamming to "Slow Ride" with my buddies as a teenager. I’m stuck, though, so why don’t you pick one and I’ll record it. As for "Soul Envy", the only cover is "Face the Sun" - a great song written by my buddy Ledenhed from San Francisco.

Me: Id, how are the Wyrd Sisters? Just thought I'd ask.

Id: Well, that’s a good question. Kim, the main writer and I are working on some new material which could turn into another project entirely. It’s too soon to say. Hopefully the Sisters will hit the road again soon, and hopefully with me. Best motor home experience ever!

Me: So, what's next, my friend? Any new releases planned? You are welcomed back when the new album comes out, you know that, right?

Id: Thanks, Jason. At the end of 2008 I put out a digital album called "Crush’d". It was a collection of older unreleased songs and alternate versions and mixes of songs from "Cure for the Common Crush". It was done in kind of a rush so I’m re-recording and re-mixing some of it and having it properly mastered. At the same time, I’m working on its companion piece "Soul’d" which is another album’s worth of previously unreleased songs, covers and alternate versions of songs from "Soul Envy". Those will hopefully be released together in late 2011. I’m also constantly recording more new material for a follow-up to "Soul Envy". I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I’ve got a lot of work yet to do on all of it, though.

Me: I wish you a lot of luck. Go ahead and plug your website and I hope all is well. Thanks again.

Id: Thank you! I really appreciate your support, Jason. People can find me at or All the best to you and your family.

There you go, another entry done. Thanks to my good friend Jeff Trelewicz for answering my questions about baseball and to Id Guinness for doing another great interview. He does look like Timothy Hutton, right? The Phile will be back next Friday, as my day's off change, with Staci Butler who is the lead singer for the Texas based rock band Staci's Edge. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snake and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pheaturing Danny Nova

Hello, phriends, and welcome to another entry of the Phile. I cannot believe it's April already. March came in like a lion and went out like a raging wolverine. Are you guys excited it's baseball season? I'm not. I don't like baseball, even though I pretend to like the Yankees and hate the Red Sox. Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, second only to “Angry Birds.” Last year, Chewbacca threw out the first pitch for opening day. He was “Wookiee of the Year. Apparently, Katie Couric will leave CBS. There’s no word on her replacement yet, though I think I’d fit nicely into her chair. I already fit nicely into her outfits. President Obama announced his re-election campaign, though it’s not really a surprise. He did all the things that make it official: He filed the paperwork, redesigned his website, and printed another fake birth certificate. As far as I’m concerned, the election starts with the first attack ad, which should appear in about 20 minutes. I think elections should be quick. If I have an election that lasts longer than four hours, I call the doctor. Charlie Sheen is not on tour, did you guys know that? Sheen’s live show bombed so badly in Detroit that President Obama gave him a $4 billion bailout. People who saw the show said it was disjointed, confusing, and largely nonsensical, which may have something to do with the fact that Charlie Sheen hosted it. I mentioned the President is gonna run for President in 2012 again, and he already put out a poster that I think is aimed at action movie fans. I think... Anyway, check it out.

And now for some sad news...

Larry Finch
February 16, 1951 - April 2, 2011
This makes the eighth variety of finch that is now extinct.

From the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Ten Things You Don't Want To Hear From Your Air Traffic Controller
10. "I'm thinking of a runway between one and ten..."
9. "This is just 'til I can go full time at the toll booth."
8. "Say, that's the flight my ex-wife is on."
7. "I just had the craziest dream."
6. "That's strange -- are you in one plane or two?"
5. "Duh! Winning!"
4. "Can I land, can I land -- is that all you people care about?"
3. "I'll give you your landing instructions in a minute, but first: are you familiar with Amway?"
2. "Your landing is important to us. Please continue circling and the next available air traffic controller will be with you shortly."
And the number one thing you don't want to hear from your air traffic controller is...
1. "You are now entering Libyan air space."

Today's guest is an American songwriter and singer whose latest album "Crushing the Stone" is available on iTunes. He will be playing at The Black River Barn in Randolph, New Jersey and he was the first guest I have had on the Phile to have played at Carnegie Hall I believe. Anyway, please welcome music legend... Danny Nova.

Me: Hi there, Danny. Welcome to the Phile. You have a great stage name. How did you come up with it?

Danny: It's not a stage name, it's a name a walk around with all the time. LOL. Actually I was 18 years old and my birth name was way too difficult for anyone to ever spell or pronounce correctly... only one person was ever able to spell it correctly the first time out of the box. Anyway, I was in a band called Empire and we were touring around the USA at the time. The guitar player in the band Ron Harkins who I admired as a big brother said to me one day, "Danny your last name isn't cutting it, how about Nova?" He continued, "I think of u as being this bursting star and I think that Nova fits your personality." Well with that flattery from someone I looked up to, how could I say no? Thus Danny Nova entered the earths atmosphere from outer space, LOL. I go back home frequently.

Me: I have to say congratulations, sir. I believe you are the first guest I ever had on the Phile who has played at Carnegie Hall. How was that experience?

Danny: It was a walk in the park for me. Really was. The day of the show, my bus was parked outside the stage door and I stayed on my bus in my bedroom laying on the bed with my laptop and wrote out the lighting design and blocking for the show. Everyone left me to my own devices and I didn't leave the bedroom except for hitting the lavatory a few times. I was like a mad scientist tapping away to get 20 or so songs blocked out for the light and stage crew. They must have thought I was nuts for waiting till the day of the show to do it but I just thought of it as spontaneous and fun. Anyway, I get the call on the two way radio for a sound check from our production manager Wil Barker and he is frazzled because he is left with all the responsibility on his shoulders to see that the show goes off without a hitch and here I am calm as a jay bird nestled on his perch looking into the warm sun. But Wil, as is in his nature to be, is so mild mannered and professional that he doesn't really show it at all to the many crew and onlookers. Looking back, I have to say that if it weren't for him, Anthony Davino, Chris McCabe, Debbie DeStefano, Terry Camp, Ron Alexenburg, Robin Burt that there is no way the show would have come off great as it was. Understanding that this is Carnegie Hall, the same place where the Beatles and the biggest of the big have made their claim to fame, I took it serious but I wasn't going to let it scare me. I just treated it like any other gig, big or small and had the same attitude when I walked in the venue to do a sound check. I smiled at everyone that came across my path as if they were a supporter and a friend. During sound check we kept it low key and professional and did our check and off the stage we went to let the rest of the crew continue with what they had to do to button it up. Then back to the bus I went and didn't reappear till it was close to show time. When I did appear, I went to the Maestro Suite, which is another word for Stars Dressing Room and I sat there all alone for a few minutes. I sat at the grand piano and played it for a bit, thinking that this is a piano that the greats put their hands on top of the keys and now its my turn to do the same. Its my night to headline Carnegie Hall and nothing is going to take that away from me, short of an earthquake. To be a small part of history that will be read in Carnegie Hall journals and in archive press documents till the end of musical history as we know it. To me that was the thrill of all time. No other venue, not even Madison Square Garden could make me feel the way I was feeling. Then as I was there all alone, thinking that my 9 band members were downstairs in their smaller dressing rooms waiting for curtain call, I went to the double doors of the Maestro Suite and looked for a way to keep them open. The security guard Hose, who was stationed outside my door, was looking at me while I was eyeing up the sides of the doors. He was confused as to what I was doing. He figured it out, and said "Are you actually going to keep these doors open?" I said yep, and I am inviting my band and crew to stay with me here ... he then smiled and said "No one in my 20 years of standing here has ever done that before." I said well there's a first time for everything and let me be the first. He was soo happy because he saw that I was not shutting out the world around me and the people who are in with me. I went downstairs and knocked on dressing room doors and personally invited everyone upstairs to the suite. As they piled in shortly before showtime, it felt great to be there with them at that magical moment. There were pictures taken and you can see our drummer Liberty Devitto sitting there, calm as can be on that day as he was with Billy Joel 30 years earlier. It was surreal to a point and I was taking it all in. Then we got the curtain call and the band headed downstairs onto the stage. I stayed back and went down after hitting the lavatory. The band was on stage doing a percussion thing as Joey Reynolds from WOR Radio took center stage and the mic. He did a little stand up thing to loosen up the crowd and introduced me. I came out, gave him a hug, took the mic and the band kicked it in. I looked at the crowd, waved and the roar was what let me know they were ready to rock Carnegie Hall. Looking out over that beautiful stage and into the balconies was a site to remember. It was warm and inviting and I knew then that it was time to just myself and get into what I was there to do. To entertain the audience the way I have grown to do by feeling their vibes and to have fun. To wing it a bit and to stay within range for my band as to not confuse them for much more than a moment! There is so much more to tell, but this is an interview and not an autobiography so I will cut it here. But I will say this, that the best part of the whole show was when we took a bow together. The feeling of comradory that cant be felt any other way.

Me: How did you manage to get booked there, Danny?

Danny: It's a big and long process. Pete Bennett, the promoter for the Beatles, Stones, Elvis, Sinatra, The Who, Queen, Kid Rock etc. who I had know since I was 20 years old said to me in a conversation that he felt I was ready for Carnegie Hall even though I didn't have huge commercial success yet. He said that the booking staff would enjoy what I do musically because it's not the kind of music that will break the walls apart so to speak. It's pretty much all acoustic rock and it dawned on me that he was probably right. He said he would make the call but that I would have to make a submission of the music I intended to play and be true to what I say I am going to do if I get the approval. He did make the call, so I submitted the material that was needed to check me out. I got a call within 3 weeks telling me that the booking department and the listening board loved what they heard and that they thought my music was perfect for the venue and the times. They said they would get back in touch with me for a following year booking. Well, that was late spring. I got a call 9 months later to come to Carnegie Hall to discuss the show in more detail. They had to make sure I was going to do what I said I was going to do and not blow them out of the water with a heavy rock sound. They just don't do that there because the room is not meant for it acoustically and would be a disaster. It was December, and in the meeting they told me that a famous platinum selling adult rock band fooled them and it turned out to be a mess. The band was barred from Carnegie Hall. I can't say the name of the band, but you know them without a doubt. Moving on, they told me that my gig was a one shot deal and not to expect to be invited back because they get 5200 submissions a year and that they only allow a small amount of contemporary music to be performed inside the walls of Carnegie Hall. They said that they would see if they could put me on the calendar for the fall of the following year but wouldn't know for sure until March. In March I got the call and was told that they gave me a Saturday night on November 15th. It was perfect! Two weeks after Halloween parties and almost two weeks before Thanksgiving. The rest was history. And by the way, we did get invited back. It's up to us to say when we are ready to return.

Me: What was backstage like there? I bet the Maestro Suite was fancy.

Danny: Well the Maestro Suite which is in the most upper part of the facility has a shower, a sitting room for makeup and wardrobe, and a larger room with a black grand piano off to the side with seating around the perimeter of the room. The art work on the walls are works of musical eras going back into the 1800's. There are sculptures as well. Then on the floor below, there are 6 other smaller dressing rooms for the band. And one for the press. There is also a large community area that the dressing rooms let out to. The back stage area is small and is not really for hanging out. Your on and your off to the community area.

Me: Let's talk about your last album "Crushing the Stone" which I purchased off from iTunes by the way. It came out a few years ago, right? Are you working on a new album now?

Danny: Yes, "Crushing the Stone" was released a in Sept 2008. We are in the midst of putting a concept together for the next album called "After The Rainfall" I actually have too many songs and have to cut it down before going into the studio. Its hard to make a choice between which song goes on and which goes on the next album, if at all. But it has to be done and I procrastinate with things like that. I am also procrastinating because it takes a lot of energy to do a new album and to get it to market. I am having way too much fun and enjoying what I am doing now to stop and get serious about marketing and the business end of it. I just want to play live shows for now and have fun while we are still emerging and not being sought after to a point where we have to have a serious face on, much of the time. I hear that many artists wish they hadn't gotten famous because then it becomes all business and the artistic pleasures and fun go by the way side. I can understand how that happens, but I am determined to not let that happen to me. Bet me on it and we'll see who wins!

Me: It's actually your third album I believe, is that right?

Danny: Yes, I recorded two other albums that I never put out to market because I didn't feel they would make a splash. I am sorta a perfectionist in some ways and if I don't believe in something very strongly, how can I expect others to get behind it. I just didn't want to waste the time of people who would get behind something that I wasn't behind. Also, there might be a point in time where I could use the tracks of the other two albums and rework them till I felt strong about them. Its possible to do if I get into the right space in my head. I just fear playing songs night after night, that I might not like to play after a while. Think about the story of Barry Manilow for instance. He has to play "Mandy" which was a song that he hated and didn't want to record let alone release as a single in the first place. I won't go into the details that I am privy to about why he finally recorded it, but its a scary thing to have to do something you don't want to do because of business and because your music enthusiasts almost demand it of you. Not going to happen here. Well at least I don't think it will if I keep an eye on it and don't make rash decisions or allow other people to convince me to make them.

Me: You played all the instruments on the album, except a few, right? How many instruments do you play?

Danny: Well, the technical answer to that is 10 instruments but I am a hacker on most of them because once you play with world class musicians, you start to see how much further you have to travel to call yourself proficient on any of them. I sing better than anything else I do. But I do play a mean acoustic guitar... now forget about my fret work with my left hand, that's average at best but with my right hand strum going on, I would go up against any guitar player in the world on a strum off, LOL... haven't met a guitar player that has the right hand going on in the way I do and that's because I play percussion and the right hand on acoustic guitar is all about percussion. Pete Townsend of The Who has a mean right hand and I would love to sit with him and do a friendly duel. I think I would surprise him. Hehe... Also Richie Zambora has got the right hand down and has grown into a killer left hand for his genre. Richie was always good but he is now up there with guitar elites because of his finesse and tastiness over the pure technical performance.

Me: Do you have a band you play live with?

Danny: Yes, I play with different world class players and then some good locals, lookin' for a good time on the town. I can't call Liberty Devitto to play drums on a small local venue gig. He wouldn't want to do it because he would spend most of his breaks answering questions about his 30 year stay with Billy Joel. It would be detrimental to my relationship with him to ask him to do that. Or how about Kevin Jenkins or Deni Bonet who was with Cindy Lauper and for many years. But those are my heavy hitters for heavy play dates. Kenny Aaronson is another one who would go bonkers during breaks being questioned about his stay with Dylan, Jett, Squire, Bowie etc. Kenny has been tied up with John Eddie anyway so that would be only when John is idle. All in all, I call the team in that fits the venue which actually all are very good.

Me: Where did the title "Crushing the Stone" come from, Danny?

Danny: Very simple... the heart turns to stone over years of tuff relationships and peopleships, right? Well, there is a saying "Once Bitten Twice Shy" that even a song is named after that saying. It means life takes its tolls on you and when we get hurt, we shy away from things that hurt us. Getting back to "Crushing the Stone", I was going through a transition in my life where I realized it was time to get back in touch with my heart and not be so distant from life's treasures and relationships. I found that I needed to Crush The Stone in order to achieve my goal of freeing myself from the past in order to move into the future with a happy and productive perspective on life. Thus "Crushing The Stone" or maybe better put, soften up so you can feel the movement and beat of my heart.

Me: Where are you based? I wanna say New York or New Jersey, or Boston. You are very Steven Tyler sounding.

Danny: Well, I wanna say yes to two out of three of them... I grew up in NJ and NY but traveled and lived in different states since I was 17 years old. Colorado, California, Wisconsin, Florida is where I had some sort of actual residences for short periods of time. Mostly with band houses or whatever. I kinda feel that I am a citizen of the world in many respects although I haven't seen much of it yet outside the USA, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, England... I plan on getting to know Asia, South America, and Europe over the next few years. But even so, I have a kindred heart for many places I have never been to before. Odd as it may seem, I feel I have been there before.

Me: You have played some shows with some very cool people, Danny. Leon Russell, The Cars and even Randy Jackson. Did you get to spend time with these people, talking to them?

Danny: Well, I want to say yes but most of the time headliners don't associate with the supporting acts at the scene of the event. They have their own agenda and stick to it. They should knock on our dressing room door if you ask me but most don't. Hmm... Bo Bice actually did. He is an awesome down to earth guy. Randy Jackson and I co-headlined a bill and we hung out. Same for Dave Mason, we co-headlined a show and he wasn't so talkative at first. But later on, about a year later to be precise, he came on my bus when I was on the road. He borrowed two of my guitars after his equipment van was broken into. Nice guy I am huh?

Me: Is there anybody you would love to open for or be on the bill with?

Danny: I don't idolize them but Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam, Rascal Flatts, Five For Fighting, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Steve Perry, Journey, Rod Stewart, James Blunt, U2, Eagles, and John Mellencamp would in some way all fit for me to be on the same bill. I would make it fit. Hehe.

Me: You are a very talented musician, sir. How long have you been writing, singing and playing instruments?

Danny: Oh well, I started playing guitar at around 6 or 7 years old. I started singing at 9 with the church choir for a few years and busted out of that at 12 singing rock and whatever contemporary thing of the time. I think I had an interest in writing songs around that time but didn't have the clarity to actually write a song that was worth publishing till I was about 19 or 20. It was a song called "My Hearts On Fire" and I started the song on my own but then it needed some help. So Steve Coronel of Wicked Lester (ancestor to KISS) put his two cents in and then it was complete. After that, I saw that I could actually write songs and continued to develop in that area. I was a published songwriter and it gave me confidence.

Me: What is the first instrument you learned to play?

Danny: Guitar, then piano.

Me: Do you play the kazoo?

Danny: That's not something that I have ever tried but have heard about from a high school friend who was in a school kazoo band. Apparently when they run out of breath, the school gives them free oxygen.

Me: I have to ask you about your mission to promote the Vegan lifestyle. At first when I read your bio I thought it said promote the VEGas lifestyle. A Vegan lifestyle is pretty different. LOL. How do you promote something like that?

Danny: What, the Vegas lifestyle? Well that's easy, just play roulette red or black and double down when you lose on one till you win it back, LOL. Actually I do like Vegas because it's a town that evolves around entertainment. Been there about 4 times and it's a blast if you dont lose your shirt. I am not a big gambler, I know how but I don't want to take the money from them so easily. I usually win a few hundred and walk away. Getting back to the Vegan lifestyle. Promote is the key word, not push or shove it onto someone. Vegans, historically have been the leaders on the planet. Vegetarians for a better understanding. Most religious leaders such as... ugh... all of them, most music leaders such as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Prince, blah blah blah, most scientists/inventors such as Thomas Edison, Davincci, Newton, Einstein and it goes on... I think being vegan/vegetarian is not only good for the soul and spiritual development it's also good for the health and energy levels of a person, especially the sick. There is a list of famous vegetarians that I am proudly on along side many others names you would recognize and be pleasantly surprised are on it. Its not a secret society or anything like that but Google it and see for yourself.

Me: For the reader that doesn't know what a Vegan lifestyle is... and I am sure there's one or two out there, can you explain it?

Danny: A Vegan is a person who does not consume animals, birds, fish, reptiles or any product that has any of those life forms in it. In other words, Vegans are Vegetarians that don't eat cheese or eggs, ice cream.

Me: And congrats on signing to endorse EKO Guitars. That means we'll be seeing you in different EKO ads I am guessing. Do you get anything free now that you are an official endorser?

Danny: Thanks for the kudos on that. And yes, EKO Guitars gives me anything I want. I am not greedy so I have accepted an acoustic twelve string, an acoustic six string, an acoustic bass, an electric bass and they are building me my own signature mahogany guitar that has a patented breakaway neck. That means that the guitar neck comes right off for travel and storage with a click of a tool. Its going to be for sale worldwide and I will receive a royalty for each guitar sold. That's not going to happen overnight because it takes time for production to tool up and all that goes with the marketing of it. It's a nice thing to have EKO Guitars in my future because I whole heartedly believe in their products and their business practices. They are also planning to back my recordings and releases but that's something that still has to be worked out.

Me: Danny, thanks for being on the Phile, sir. Your album is really cool, and I recommend it to anyone who likes Acoustic, Americana, roots music. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you would love to plug. You work with a shit load of charities, right?

Danny: I work with many charities... sometime soon I will make a list and publish it on my sites. I just never thought of making an actual list because I am just into focusing on what's on the upcoming agenda for the charities and benefits.

Me: Again, thanks for being here, and when your next album comes out, you are welcome to come back onto the Phile. Take care.

Danny: You're welcome... my pleasure... good questions and enjoyed answering them... best of luck to you...

There! That's how you do an interview. I think that was one of the best ones I have ever did. Thanks to Danny for doing an amazing job. The Phile will be back on... tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow, with a special Thursday entry where the guest will be Phile Alumni Id Guinness. And then starting next week the Phile will be be posted on Friday... or as I like to call it Phriday, with Staci Butler, lead singer for the Texas based band Staci's Edge. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.